Gold Fields begins construction of the Salares Norte mine in Chile

South African miner Gold Fields has formally started construction of the mining infrastructure at the $860 million open pit gold mine, Salares Norte, in northern Chile.

This month the company began the preliminary dismantling of the gold and silver project and the construction of the processing plant.

The construction of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022 and production to begin in early 2023.
Once commissioned, the mine will have the capacity to process two million tons of ore per year to produce doré gold.

Gold Fields said it has completed nearly 15% of the construction work, including the mining camp to house 1,800 people, associated infrastructure and access roads.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said the firm kept to the mine’s construction schedule despite challenges related to the safety of its employees and contractors from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Holland said: “The first actions taken in response to the pandemic added to the commitment of our people, allowed us to navigate the challenges of this unprecedented and highly complex situation and stay on track with the production schedule.”

The Salares Norte project is expected to create close to 2,700 construction jobs during its peak stage.

Once the mine enters the operational phase, Gold Fields expects to employ around 900 employees and contractors.

The director of the Salares Norte project, Max Combes, said: “A project like Salares Norte generates a very valuable productive chain in the industry and important economic opportunities in the region. The project seeks to use sustainable technologies that reduce its environmental footprint. These include photovoltaic solar energy and filtered tailings to optimize water use. ‘

It is located at a distance of approximately 190km from Diego de Almagro, inside a 1,800 hectares central concession area.

Last year, Gold Fields awarded a contract to Fluor to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) management services for the Salares Norte project.

Source: World Energy Trade.